Dustin Parkes of Drunk Jays Fans attended UFC 83 in Montreal and reported to us.
Hours after Georges St. Pierre devastated Matt Serra with a series of thrashing knees to his side, my ears were still ringing from the enormous decibel levels reached by the screaming crowds that attend these events. The sheer volume and energy of the frenetic crowd at the Bell Centre had a physical effect on me.
While it seemed that every one in La Belle Province over this past weekend was a fan of the UFC "since the beginning," not all of Canada welcomed UFC 83 to town. Last week, our nation's largest sports radio talk show ignored -- and then questioned the legitimacy of -- the event and mixed martial arts in general.
And even though I'm a fan, I have to admit that walking down Rue De La Gauchetiere on my way into the Bell Centre, I was expecting keg stands and the word party being used as a verb.
Instead I was shocked to find myself surrounded by a knowledgeable and animated audience that cheered with equal enthusiasm for striking and grappling.
As a Canadian, I actually took a measure of pride in the crowd's performance, especially during the Nate Quarry and Kalib Starnes undercard match up.
As Starnes avoided Quarry's attempts to engage, the audience began to turn against the Canadian for his constant retreats from Quarry's challenges. They actually recognized Starnes' tomfoolery and despite national allegiance, cheered for the efforts of Quarry to catch him.
Some of the loudest (non-GSP related) cheers were surprisingly reserved for a flurry of Demian Maia submission attempts against Ed Herman when the seats were only two-thirds full and a high-level Rich Franklin jiu-jitsu roll employed to escape a Travis Lutter arm bar.
The fact is that, among the crowd at the Bell Centre, the biggest irritant was the occasional unresponsiveness of some folks in the high priced floor seats. There was a distinct minority which couldn't be bothered to even shake its jewellery together in appreciation for the effort the athletes put in on Saturday night.